For many people, celebrating holidays means a major change of routine, whether it is a hectic social whirl or just a chance to unwind. However, it is easy to underestimate how unsettling that can be for dogs.
Security, safety and routine are the bedrock for dogs; they have no way of knowing whether changes to their usual habits are only going to last for a few days or whether their live will always be chaotic. Even without the added risk of ingesting foreign objects or toxic human foods, Christmas holidays can result in sensitive dogs having stress-induced gastric problems and exhibiting unwanted behaviours. It is all too easy to spend far less time with dogs or over-exercise them when on holiday.
A small amount of time taken to ensure that as much of the usual routine as possible is retained over the holidays can make the dofference between a miserable time for you and your dogs or a welcome break.
- Don’t feed additional or different food
- Keep exercise levels the same and try to keep to a similar timetable as usual
- Ensure that your dog can choose to go to a space where he can be alone and away from noise, but monitor him periodically
- Don’t introduce other companion animals without allowing plenty of time before hand to see if they will be compatible and to make alternative arrangements if not
- Ensure that exits will be secure and that you know where your dog is at all times
- Don’t overwhelm your dog with toys and treats – one new toy and the usual amount of treats is suffient: save the surplus for the rest of the year
- Make sure that guests comply.
Let’s make sure that no vet needs to be called out for the lack of a little forethought and make sure that your dog has a happy holiday too.